Golam Mostafa Jibon: Though, the corona pandemic has started to ease gradually, country’s tourism sector is still facing manifold problems due to lack of proper patronization by the authorities concerned.
Consequently, over 45 lakh of people involved directly and indirectly in this sector are in apprehension over their future.
According to the sources, as the corona outbreak hit the country in March 2020, all recreation and tourism centers were closed by the government directive following the safety concern. The people involved in this sector including hotels, motels, resorts fell into trouble along with their families for want of regular income. When the infection subsided, all the tourist centers had been started reopening since August 22 last year. The tourism industry started reviving at that time due to low spread of corona infection. At that time, the tourism traders tried to turn around. But when the second wave of corona started in 2021, the government was forced to impose restrictions in the country again from April. The move closed the tourism industry again.
After a hard battle, the corona started to ease again and all the tourism centers were reopened on August 19.
But, the fear has not yet subsided completely. There is a lack of adequate facilities for the workers in this sector. Flight movement is yet to start some of the countries of the world centering the pandamic. In such a situation, adequate incentives are needed to heal the wounds of the tourism sector. Necessary facilities should provide to all, who are involved with the sector, said the concerned people.
According to the United Nations World Travel and Tourism Council, a potential was created in the tourism sector of Bangladesh in 2019. That year, 2.7 percent of the country’s total GDP came from the tourism sector. About Tk 80,400 crore was added to the country’s economy from this sector. Sources said, the tourism sector is one of the potential sectors in Bangladesh. However, due to various natural disasters, lack of safety and proper decisions by the authorities concerned, this sector is still neglected.
AM Ubaidul Muktadir Chowdhury, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and Member of Parliament said, “We have already taken necessary steps that needs to overcome the damage caused by the corona situation. In this sector, those who have incurred losses and become unemployed will be provided necessary assistances. Now the ministry and others concerned are working in this regard.”
Mokhlesur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Tourism Foundation said that, “Adequate incentives are needed now to revive the tourism sector. If the adequate assistance is not provided, the sector will suffer hardship within short time.”
According to the Bangladesh Tourism Foundation and the Bangladesh Tourism Explorers Association, about 90 percent of the professionals and workers have fallen into a very precarious position with tourism, which is more delicate than any other manufacturing and service industries. This industry contributes in three ways including directly and indirectly in the country. So, if the tourism industry collapses, the economy and society will collapse.
Rashedur Rahman, President of the Bangladesh Tourism and Hotels Workers-Employees Federation said, “Workers in the tourism sector were the most neglected. Until their rights and security are ensured, there will be no improvement in this sector. Although, thousands of crores of Taka have been allocated for this sector centering the corona pandemic, the owners and workers are not getting its benefit due to massive mismanagement. Workers are being deprived seriously.”
He also said, “There is a need to create a separate ministry like the Ministry of Tourism. At present, the Ministry of Aviation and Tourism spends most of its money on the aviation sector. As a result, the tourism sector is not getting such benefits. If the government creates a separate ministry just for tourism, then this sector will move forward soon. In order to increase the number of domestic and foreign tourists, the government, concerned organizations and the general public should work together.”
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